History of Helios Lodge
Masons began meeting in the Cambridge area in the early 1900's. The name "Helios" was chosen as the lodge name which is the Greek word for the sun which provides light. Light is associated with knowledge and understanding. Thus the name "Helios" alludes to providing knowledge and understanding for the members of the lodge.
The first meeting of Helios Lodge was held February 13th, 1909. On January 15th, 1910, the Grand Lodge was petitioned for a charter. The charter was awarded and the officers for the newly chartered Helios Lodge #273 were installed by the Grand Lodge on February 26th, 1910. On February 27th, 2010, Helios Lodge celebrated the hundredth anniversary of Masonry in Cambridge, Minnesota.
The first lodge room was on the second floor of the Gouldberg and Anderson Building overlooking Main Street and Second Ave. SW in Cambridge (current location of the Post Office). That building burned on December 31st, 1931. The archives of the lodge that were lost included the Charter, the working tools that had been handed down from earlier years and all other memorabilia and pictures.
After the fire the lodge moved to the Gillespie-Stoneburg building at the southwest corner of Main St. and Highway 95 in Cambridge; where they remained through 1936. The third and current home of Helios Lodge is the former Methodist Episcopal Church which was disbanded in 1926. Helios Lodge purchased the property (343 Second Ave. SW Cambridge) in 1934 and after extensive remodeling, moved into the building on January 17th, 1937. The Lodge has remained there ever since. Except for minor changes and normal upkeep and updating the building's outward appearance remains unchanged.
The centrality of Helios Lodge members in Cambridge can be measured in many ways. There were times when the majority of school board members were Masons. At one time virtually every business in downtown Cambridge was owned by a Mason. In Cambridge, as in many other similar communities, nearly every significant work or effort has had Masons contributing to its success. Current membership (2010) includes: government workers, professionals, law enforcement, education, military, and a wide array of other workers.
Men interested in Masonry must ask for a petition to join the lodge. A petition may be obtained from any officer or member of the lodge.
The exact origin of Masonry is lost in antiquity. The term "free mason" referred to the privilege of Master Masons to travel "free" from place to place earning master's wages. Until about the sixteenth century, masons were strictly operative craft-stone masons and architects. Early in the seventeenth century, membership in these unions or operating lodges of stone masons began to decline, and lodges began to admit certain men of prominence in society who were not craftsmen or stone masons. This class of members were initially considered patrons of the fraternity, and became known as "accepted masons." Hence, the origin of the term “Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.”
As craft masonry diminished, lodges began to emphasize moral philosophy rather than the technical and operative skills. Tools of stone masons are still used in the Fraternity today to symbolize and teach moral virtue. There are many expressions in our common language that have come from Masonry. References to being a “square” dealer, being “on the level,” being “plumb” with the world are all taken from the Masonic symbolic use of stone masons’ tools.
The Masonic ideals of democracy and equality have been seen as challenges to political authority. Some of the misunderstanding of Masonry today have its roots in the accusations made against those who worked for democracy and equality. As Americans citizens, we have benefited from the Masonic concepts of equality, democracy, and the secret ballot, which were practiced in Masonry before they became accepted politically.
Masonry, as we know it today, was first written down and codified in the Eighteenth Century. While there are similarities in Masonic Lodges around the world, in the United States lodges are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of each state. While there is recognition of other state Grand Lodges there is no higher authority than the State Grand Lodge. There is no hierarchy or power which can dictate beliefs and actions to a state Grand Lodge.
Through the history of America Masons have been involved at every step, beginning with our Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and followed by thirteen Presidents, including seven in the Twentieth Century – McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, and Ford. National leaders from the military, science, education, music, and space and others illustrate that Masons have been involved in all aspects of our history.